The electrical conductivity of a silver microflake-filled conductive composites is dramatically improved after a filler surface treatment. By a simple iodine solution treatment, nonstoichiometric silver/silver iodide nanoislands form on the silver filler surface. Evidence of the decrease of surface silver oxide species is provided by TOF-SIMS and the redox property of the nanoclusters is studied using cyclic voltammetry and TOF-SIMS depth profile analyses. The redox property of the nanoclusters on silver flakes helps enhance the electrical conductivity of the conductive composites. The electrical resistivity of the improved conductive composites is measured by four-point probe method; the reliability of the printed thin film resistors is evaluated by both the 85 °C/85% relative humidity moisture exposure and the −40 ∼ 125 °C thermal cycling exposure. The conductive composite printed radio frequency identification (RFID) antennas with 27.5 wt% of the modified silver flake content show comparable performance in the RFID tag read range versus copper foil antennas, and better than those commercial conductive adhesives that require much higher silver content (i.e., 80 wt%). This work suggests that a surface chemistry method can significantly reduce the percolation threshold of the loading level of the silver flakes and improve the electrical conductivity of an important printed electronic passive component.
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